SI Trial extended to London



The next big step in delivering a full set of Schedule Information to the Freeview audience launches next week.

From 2.00pm next Wednesday (5 May) the current trial of 8-day information in Wales will be extended to London's Crystal Palace transmitter - and its relays at Guildford, Hemel Hempstead and Reigate.

SI has been extended on a trial basis in Wales for some time now, initially offering a 4-day schedule which was latterly extended to 8 days. A statement from the BBC's Strategy & Distribution Team says:

"The broadcasters felt that a larger target trial audience was required to provide added confidence in the service before considering full national roll-out. Despite the obvious differences in geography and audience size, providing the extended service in London is technically very similar to doing so in Wales. This means that the technical risk is minimised whilst achieving a significant gain in audience size. There are also significant benefits to providing London coverage, as many broadcasters, manufacturers and industry bodies will be able to experience an extended schedule service for the first time."

For operational reasons, during the trial the extended SI will only be transmitted in the BBC, Crown Castle and D3 and D4 muxes: SDN won't carry the extended SI during the trial period.

There is also a caveat about which receivers can display the data as so many were developed before the current profile was decided. The BBC brief says that the following receivers will attempt to decode the schedule information:

Humax F2 Fox 1 STB
Humax 8000 PVR (full product details not specified)
Pace PVR
Sony VTX D800U
Sony iDTVs (integrated digital TV sets)
"However, once extended SI is available ongoing, [the broadcasters] would hope that more manufacturers make their boxes capable of displaying extended SI - either through over-air software upgrades or by marketing new 'schedule-ready' receivers."